By Marty Burns
February 28, 2005
NBA Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
16 14 Eddie Najera should give them a much-needed hustle guy, and they've got 16 of their final 26 games at home. But they've dug themselves such a big hole it might be too late.
17 16 Hit the road, Jack ? No, we're not talking about former Laker Haley's inaccurate report of Carlos Boozer trade. We're talking about Sunday's loss in Toronto, their sixth in the last eight away from home.
18 20 Apparently they decided that since they changed coaches, they didn't need to change any players after all. But they won at Portland on Sunday to snap a two-game losing streak.
19 19
Orlando Magic (28-27)
Steve O hasn't done much of late to make that All-Star snub seem so bad. Sunday's loss to the Heat left them 4-7 in February, and the seat under coach Johnny Davis is getting warmer by the day.
20 13 They beat the Cavs on Sunday to make it two in a row after losing two straight. But with Philly and Boston making big trades, Jason Kidd might not be feeling as good about their playoff hopes.
21 24 Like the T'wolves and Blazers, they too stood pat despite rumors of an overhaul. But they got a much-needed emotional lift with that that big win over Vince Carter in New Jersey.
22 21 The loss of Van Horn and Mike James leaves their already thin bench in worse shape. But if it makes it easier to re-sign Michael Redd this summer it will all be worth it.
23 23 Another team that opted to stand pat on trade deadline day despite a glaring need to shake up the roster. Patience is a virtue, but it might cost them this season. And will Mo Cheeks still be around to benefit?
24 24 After saying he didn't want any more long-term contracts, Isiah Thomas traded for power forwards Mo Taylor and Malik Rose. Hopefully for New York, those draft picks he got with Rose turn into something.
25 22 They're glad to be home after losing seven of their last eight on a recently-concluded road trip. Since then they've already beaten the T'wolves and Hawks to at least get back on track somewhat.
26 27 Baron Davis and Jason Richardson form one of the NBA's most explosive backcourts. But until Mike Dunleavy Jr. starts shooting like Chris Mullin, the Run TMC comparisons will have to wait.
27 26
Utah Jazz (18-37)
They won at Houston on Sunday to snap a four-game losing skid. But Raul Lopez (knee) is out for the season, leaving Keith McLeod and Howard Eisley to run the point.
28 30 Emeka Okafor didn't hurt his ROY chances Saturday by winning the stat battle over former UConn teammate Gordon. But will his team's losing record cost him down the road?
29 29
Atlanta Hawks (10-45)
Forget Howard Hughes. Slam Dunk champ Josh Smith is the real Aviator. And with Antoine Walker no longer around, he's the only reason for fans to watch the next two months.
30 28 Let the rebuilding begin! With Baron Davis and Jamal Mashburn off their books, they could clear about $19 million under the salary cap next summer. Hey, it's hope at least.

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